Written by Oakes
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Oakes Occasionally - July 27, 2006
Why Occasionally?July 27, 2006
Vancouver, CANADA -
Welcome to the Oakes Occasionally. When I started the column, I had a hell of a lot to say. Itís not that I donít these days, I still get into the forums every now and again, but otherwise the world of beer is a pretty stable place and thereís only so much you can discuss in a meaningful way without becoming repetitive. Itís summer, itís hot, and I drink a lot of pilsner. Is it just me or are German wheat beers way too sweet to be refreshing in this heat. Some of them are practically like Sprite theyíre so sugary. Maybe late at night when itís cooled off a bit but otherwise, not for me.
IPAs are good, and itís one of those styles thatís pretty reliable. Which is in itself a problem. Theyíre brewed to a fairly high standard and I like an awful lot of them, but I donít think Iíll see another one that truly blows my mind. The style has reached a plateau. Iím wondering what styles have not yet plateaued. Certainly the more minor styles have yet to be fully explored. As seemingly untouchable as Schultheiss Berliner Weisse is, thatís one style that has barely been touched. Even the Flemish sours have only been dabbled in, though it might take years to equal the greatest examples. I hope American brewers donít get too full of themselves when they see high ratings and lots of praise when they do a decent job on that style. A decent job and a true classic are not the same thing.
And since when did ďperfectly drinkableĒ mean ďperfectĒ? Some peopleís ideas on beers I will never understand. Throwing down jaw-dropping scores on everything that doesnít suck. I mean, Iím glad youíre happy with it, but I suspect the phrase ďeasy to pleaseĒ also applies. Itís okay to be critical. Giving some indication in your rating, even if you donít outright say it, of what youíd like to see in a beer to make it better is not a bad thing. There really arenít that many brewers out there who believe everything they brew is as good as it could be, and Iíd argue that any who do think this are way too full of themselves. You can always improve Ė just like every rater should be critical of themselves in their ratings and work to ensure that anything they enter is as good as it can be, both in terms of the rating environment but also the comments. I donít care about macroswill, because thatís not brewed with an eye to pleasing beer geeks and those brewers couldnít care less what we have to say. Their own consumer base says much worse anyway.
But all that type of stuff is just part of the same old beer geek debates. Most of us have opinions on these matters and we forget that ultimately, weíre all a part of that small minority who actually cares to argue about such mundanities as rating at festivals, sample sizes, and all that crap. What difference does it really make if one person likes to write notes on their beers and another person just likes to get a good buzz on? If youíve got a problem with another craft beer lover about how they choose to enjoy their craft beer, youíre a fucking idiot. Express your opinions if you must, I do, hold ratings to a higher standard Ė nothing wrong with wanting you and your friends to be better - but getting in peopleís virtual faces, I donít know.
Am I contradicting myself with every sentence yet? Quite possibly. The world just isnít that black and white.
So is there anything vital on my brain right now? Thatís the thing. Iíve sort of burned out on the petty little beer geek debates. Iíve made my positions clear on every issue worth getting into. Whatís really left but to drink a few more beers and enjoy it? So if I donít have anything to write about, I wonít. If I have something every week, Iíll do it.
If you find this to be about the shittiest column yet, so be it. If you would like to see some things discussed, send me some ideas. Til then, or my next big brainwave, Iím just going to tip a few more Bitburgers, Amnesiacs and the like and enjoy the rest of my summer.
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